Remembering the Golden Era: 10 Iconic Restaurants on Long Island That Are Now a Thing of the Past
Written by Robert Kowal on June 29, 2023
Introduction to Long Island’s lost restaurants
Long Island, with its picturesque beaches and vibrant communities, has long been a hub of culinary excellence. Over the years, the island has been home to numerous iconic restaurants that have left an indelible mark on its dining scene. As we reminisce about the golden era of dining on Long Island, it’s impossible not to feel a pang of nostalgia for the beloved eateries that are now a thing of the past. In this article, we will take a trip down memory lane and explore the top 10 restaurants on Long Island that have left an indelible imprint on our hearts.
The golden age of dining on Long Island
Long Island’s dining scene reached its pinnacle during the golden age of the mid-20th century. This era was characterized by a perfect blend of culinary artistry, impeccable service, and a sense of elegance that is hard to find in today’s fast-paced world. The restaurants of this era were not just places to satisfy one’s hunger; they were destinations where people gathered to celebrate special occasions and create lasting memories. The list below is a mix of eateries from this era as well as some more recent establishments that have left our area.
The Top 10 restaurants on Long Island that are no longer
- Wetson’s – This fast-food hamburger chain with multiple locations throughout Long Island started in 1959 and lasted until 1975. The chain was known for its 15-cent burgers, its signature burger was the Big W, and 10-cent fries.
- Cooky’s Steak Pub – Known for its unlimited salad bar, shrimp bar and banana nut bread, I could not get enough of this place! The last Cooky’s closed in Hicksville 1994.
- MyPi – A deep dish pizzeria located in Massapequa and Hicksville in the 1980s, this deep-dish pizza was unforgettable. The original operation still exists in Chicago, and pies can be ordered through the mail via Goldbelly. I order a few from time to time!
- The Rustler Steakhouse – The Rustler was a popular steakhouse located just across from the Sunrise Mall in Massapequa. It served a variety of steaks and other classic American dishes and closed in the mid 1980s.
- The Ground Round – The location in Hicksville featured 10 cent wings during Monday Night Football for a time. I really miss that!
- Orange Julius – While not a traditional restaurant, this chain of fruit drink stands that originated in Los Angeles in the 1920s makes the cut. While it had numerous locations across the United States, the Massapequa location was a main stay in the Sunrise Mall for many years.
- Beefsteak Charlies – With Long Island locations in Huntington and Merrick, who could forget the all-you-can-eat salad bar, giant bowls of unlimited pre-peeled shrimp along with unlimited beer, wine, or sangria. Sign me up!
- Howard Johnson’s – Once a status as an icon of America, of the open road, of stopping for a quick bite to eat off the highway in the family car. The once mightly location on Westbury is no longer.
- The Old Mill Inn – A historic restaurant housed in a charming 18th-century mill. Located in Mattituck, its scenic views and exquisite American cuisine made it a popular choice for weddings and special occasions. Unfortunately, it closed in 2011.
- The Sizzler – The Sizzler in Massapequa was a beloved steakhouse that served mouthwatering cuts of meat. Its all-you-can-eat salad bar was a hit among diners. However, changing food trends and increased competition led to its closure in 1999.
Nostalgic memories of beloved eateries
As we look back on these iconic restaurants that have become a part of Long Island’s history, it’s hard not to feel a sense of nostalgia. The memories of special celebrations, romantic dates, and family gatherings flood our minds, reminding us of the joy and happiness these establishments brought to our lives. The loss of these beloved eateries is a reminder of the transient nature of the restaurant industry and the importance of cherishing the moments we spend in these culinary havens.
The impact of changing food trends on Long Island’s restaurant scene
The closure of these iconic restaurants can be attributed to the ever-evolving food trends that shape the dining landscape. As tastes and preferences change, restaurants must adapt to stay relevant. The rise of fast-casual dining, the focus on healthy and sustainable ingredients, and the popularity of international cuisines have all played a role in shaping Long Island’s restaurant scene. While it is sad to see these establishments go, it is also a testament to the dynamic nature of the culinary world.
Long Island’s best restaurants that have stood the test of time
Amidst the changing culinary landscape, there are a handful of restaurants on Long Island that have managed to withstand the test of time. These establishments have adapted to the evolving tastes of their patrons while staying true to their roots. Whether it’s the classic American fare at Peter Luger Steak House or the authentic Italian cuisine at Umberto’s, these restaurants continue to delight diners with their timeless dishes and impeccable service.
Exploring the evolving culinary landscape on Long Island
While we may mourn the loss of our favorite restaurants, it’s important to embrace the evolving culinary landscape on Long Island. New and exciting dining experiences await us, with innovative chefs pushing the boundaries of gastronomy. From farm-to-table establishments showcasing the island’s bountiful produce to fusion eateries that blend global flavors, Long Island’s dining scene is a treasure trove of culinary delights waiting to be discovered.
Paying homage to the legacy of lost restaurants
As we celebrate the vibrant dining culture of Long Island, let us not forget the legacy left behind by the restaurants that are no longer with us. These establishments have shaped our culinary preferences and left an indelible mark on our memories. We can pay homage to their legacy by sharing stories, recipes, and photographs that immortalize the joy they brought into our lives. In doing so, we ensure that their spirit lives on, inspiring future generations of restaurateurs and food enthusiasts.
Long Island’s culinary future: emerging trends and new dining experiences
Looking ahead, Long Island’s culinary future is filled with exciting possibilities. As the island continues to attract a diverse range of residents and visitors, new dining experiences are popping up across its towns and villages. From food trucks serving innovative street food to upscale eateries pushing the boundaries of gastronomy, Long Island is poised to become a culinary destination in its own right. As food enthusiasts, let us embrace this future with open arms and an insatiable appetite for new flavors and experiences.
Conclusion: Celebrating the rich history of Long Island’s dining culture
Long Island’s dining scene is a tapestry woven with the threads of countless iconic restaurants. While some have faded away, their impact on our collective memory is everlasting. As we celebrate the rich history of Long Island’s dining culture, let us savor the memories of our favorite eateries and embrace the culinary delights that await us in the future. Whether it’s reminiscing about the Garden of Eatin’ or discovering a hidden gem, Long Island’s vibrant culinary landscape continues to captivate and inspire. So, let us raise a glass and toast to the cherished memories and the exciting future of Long Island’s restaurants.